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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. “A Blast from the Past: The Public Trust Doctrine and its Growing Threat to Private Property”.

November 06, 2015

The Honorable Milan D. Smith, Jr., of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, delivered the 3rd Annual James L. Huffman lecture in honor of the Western Resources Legal Center on November 4, 2015 at Lewis & Clark Law School to an audience of students, academics, practitioners, and the general public. The talk was titled “A Blast from the Past: The Public Trust Doctrine and its Growing Threat to Private Property.” The lecture addressed the interaction of public trust principles with conventional water rights law, and posed questions to consider as states like California deal with extensive drought conditions. 

Judge Smith was born in Pendleton, Oregon and went on to graduate from Brigham Young University in 1966, where he received his degree cum laude. In 1969, Judge Smith received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School, which he attended on a full-tuition scholarship. Judge Smith was nominated by President George W. Bush to the Ninth Circuit and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in 2006.

The lecture series is named for James L. Huffman, who joined the Lewis & Clark Law School faculty in 1973 and served as dean from 1993 to 2006. His academic subjects have included constitutional law, natural resources law, water law, torts, jurisprudence, and legal history. 

The lectures are held in honor of the Western Resources Legal Center, a legal education program that provides top law students an opportunity to develop practical legal skills and specific knowledge of natural resources and environmental laws by assisting with the legal representation of farmers, ranchers, miners, foresters, resource developers, and other natural resource dependent entities.

The James L. Huffman Lecture Series in Honor of the Western Resources Legal Center is made possible by a generous endowment established by lead donors Dan Harmon, JD ’85, Kirk Johansen, Valerie Johnson, Rick Sohn, and Steven Wildish, JD ’85.